In today’s rapidly advancing technology landscape, machinery and equipment must operate at maximum efficiency and with minimal downtime. Carefully selected components such as universal joints can prevent scores of machinery problems and help optimize operations.
In most cases, sourcing universal joints require some degree of customization. Joint selection is therefore most successful when all aspects of the application are discussed with the component manufacturer.
Engineering and production teams can then specify the most appropriate product based on well-defined parameters. The OEM or end user should be involved at every design stage to ensure requirements are met.
Keeping universal joints fully lubricated can significantly prolong the component’s useful life. If pre-lubrication is not attainable, the joints can be fitted with lubricant-retaining boots that can prevent contaminants from entering and damaging the bearing faces. Project requirements determine the type of lubricant or grease to be used. Specialty lubricants abound for medical, food, marine, and aerospace applications.
Consider operational and environmental factors: The nature of application — including operating speed, angle, torque and environmental conditions — must be properly assessed during the initial phase of joint selection.
Certain types of universal joints are better suited for handling heavier loads … others excel on axes run at high speeds over longer periods of time. Applications with abrupt stops apply additional force to the component that also needs to be considered.
There are several important factors to consider when selecting the correct universal joints.
The operating environment is another vital factor for joint selection. Dust or abrasives for example can lead to premature wear and component damage.
If the joint is exposed to heat, chemicals or washdown fluids, corrosion and failure of the lubrication can lead to universal joint failure. In these instances, special materials and component protection are necessary.